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Airfares are known not to minimize the average number of legs passengers take. E.g., flying A -> B or A -> C can be more expensive than flying A -> C -> B.

In these times of pandemic, minimizing layovers/legs would help reduce the pandemic. Have airlines changed their fees to reduce the average number of layovers passengers have in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

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    Why would an airline cut their profits only to help the global society with a pandemic? – guest Aug 25 at 22:23
  • @guest 1) Attracting more customers by having fewer layovers 2) Airlines are one of the business victims of covid-19 3) Governments could also try to influence. – Franck Dernoncourt Aug 25 at 22:25
  • I think 3) is sadly not the case, 1) should even work without a pandemic and with 2) the problem is that one airline doing this alone would only cut their profits and not having much effect on the global situation. – guest Aug 25 at 22:30
  • Any such effect is probably more than negated by route cuts which reduce the availability of nonstop flights in the first place. – Nate Eldredge Aug 25 at 22:31
  • Note that (3) should also be the case in normal times because of climate crisis, but sadly, the big countries don't care much for climate and people like to fly for a few cents.. – guest Aug 25 at 22:31
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I think your reasoning is fundamentally flawed. For starters, passengers already have strong incentives to limit layovers (more time spent in transport and more exposure but also higher risk of disruption due to travel restrictions or flight cancellations). That would seem to reduce the pressure on airlines to do anything about it.

Importantly, the scenario you mention is typically not due to one airline artificially increasing the cost of direct flights through fees. What's often happening is that the airline flying A->C and C->B is not flying A->B but is trying to capture some of that traffic. They do that by being cheaper than competitors flying A->B directly. At a time when airlines are hurting for business, they have absolutely no incentive to stop doing that.

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